Trending News Today: Why Amish Children Have Lower Risk of Respiratory Conditions

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Despite struggles with Affordable Care Act insurance plans, Humana Inc reported strong results in earnings. Although insurance companies have been met with ACA-related losses, Humana showed better-than-anticipated earnings, reported The Wall Street Journal. “(Humana has seen) consistently strong operational execution across our core businesses, through challenges in our individual commercial business remain,” said Chief Financial Officer Brian Kane in the report.

New research revealed that risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke increased faster than expected in the years preceding menopause, with the risk factors being most prominent in black women, according to The Washington Post. Metabolic syndrome is most common in women post-menopause; however, when the symptoms actually begin are unclear. Findings from the study revealed that menopausal black women are at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes than Caucasian women. Although there was a rapid surge across all backgrounds in metabolic syndrome severity during the transition to menopause, black women had an increase in severity before the transition to menopause.

Through studying the blood, genes, and environmental dust of 30 Amish children in Indiana, scientist have been able to target the innate immune system as a key player in thwarting asthma and the allergic reactions that can trigger it, reported Los Angeles Times. It has long been recognized that exposure to farm animals protects children from asthma, but how it happened remained unknown. While examining the blood of Amish children, researchers found that their blood contained more neutrophils and lower levels of eosinophils than samples from Hutterite counterparts. Furthermore, when the gene expression of the cells was examined, it revealed that the genes involved in innate immunity were more active in Amish kids than in their counterparts. Authors noted that overall, the experiments helped explain why farm life was associated with the reduced risk of asthma.